Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food? Here’s The Truth

If you’re anything like me, you love giving your dog a little bit of human food now and then. Dogs are like people in that they have their individual preferences when it comes to food.

Some like meat; some like vegetables. Some enjoy ice cream; others prefer cheeseburgers (although I recommend you don’t give your dog the latter).

And of course, some love spicy food. But can dogs eat spicy food?

In this blog post, we’ll explore whether or not dogs can eat spicy food, what happens when your pup eats something spicy, and my 7 tips to stop your dog from eating spicy foods.

Let’s get started.

Can Dogs Eat Spicy Food?

Although not considered toxic, spicy food can cause gastrointestinal upset if your dog consumes too much of it. Peppers contain capsaicin which can irritate the intestinal lining and stomach, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and more serious symptoms like tremors.

Spicy foods may even trigger an allergic reaction in your pup, similar to how some humans develop hives or redness when eating peppers of any kind.

The bottom line is that dogs can eat things like salsa, guacamole, hot sauce, and taco sauce, but it is not recommended. If they do eat spicy food though, it should be in moderation.

Related Article: Best Calming Treats for Dogs. Does your dog behave unusually when you leave the house? Read on as we share the common reason that would prompt such behavior.

Can Dogs Taste Spicy Foods?

Yes, dogs can taste spicy foods. Their sense of taste is similar to ours – they can sense sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. However, their perception of spicy flavors is much lower than ours.

spicy sauce with red chili

Dogs have much fewer numbers of taste buds than we do because they don’t need many. In fact, dogs only have around 1,700 total taste buds while humans have about 9,000.

Most of a dog’s taste buds are found in the scent receptors in their noses rather than on their tongues. Think about it – when you eat something really hot, your nose starts to run and you get that “spicy” feeling in your nose, right?

That’s because the capsaicin in spicy foods stimulates nerve endings in our noses which makes our brains interpret it as heat.

What is the correlation between taste buds and spicy food? Animals with more taste buds have more taste sensitivity. Fewer taste buds = less taste. Your dog can’t really taste the hotness or as many flavors in spicy food as you can.

What Tastes Do Dogs Don’t Like?

Dogs’ taste sensitivity increases with age. Puppies can’t detect certain flavors while older dogs can. For example, salty and sour tastes are the easiest to sense whereas bitterness and sweetness (like in some vegetables) aren’t detected until a pup is 3-4 months old.

However, there are common tastes that all dogs find offensive:

  • Bitter – like in the case of citrus, grapefruit, rhubarb, and onions
  • Sweet – certain fruits that are too sweet for dogs to eat include cherries, mangoes, peaches, pineapple, and strawberries
  • Sour – like in the case of Citrus – includes lemons, limes, oranges, and tangerines
  • Salty – too much salt can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lethargy, and fever

Dogs are sensitive to the first two tastes because they help them detect toxic foods. The other two tastes are offensive simply because they don’t like how it feels on their tongues.

Read More: Dog Food for Dogs With No Teeth. Determine what to look out for in food if your dog has few or no teeth.

What Does Eating Spice Do To Your Dog?

If your dog eats spicy food, they may experience gastrointestinal upset. This includes vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. In some cases, dogs have experienced tremors after eating hot peppers or other spicy foods.

This is because capsaicin stimulates the gastrointestinal tract to release a flood of fluids that can lead to diarrhea and/or vomiting. Although these aren’t always serious, they can lead to even more issues if your pup consumes a large amount of spicy food.

In addition to this, dogs can also have an allergic reaction from eating too much spice or other ingredients in spicy foods. Although some have suggested there are health benefits of giving dogs small amounts of spicy food, there is not much research confirming these claims.

What Will Happen If Your Dog Eats Spicy Food?

If your dog eats spicy food (particularly a large amount), there is a chance you will know they have! They will possibly exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting – this can happen very suddenly and in large quantities.
  • Diarrhea – a watery stool is common in dogs who have eaten something spicy or in high doses of caffeine.
  • Excessive Thirst and/or Drinking – spicy foods and caffeinated drinks cause dehydration so your dog will feel the urge to drink more water than normal.
  • Lethargy and Depression – dogs who consume too much spice may become tired and moody. This is because their bodies are struggling to cope with what they’ve ingested. If it’s a large amount, your dog may even become comatose.
  • Increased Heart Rate – depending on how much spice your dog ate, their heart rate can increase quickly and cause panic in the animal.
  • Fever – when dogs eat spicy foods or drink too many caffeinated beverages, they can experience fever which in very rare cases can be fatal.
  • Excessive Drooling – this symptom is most commonly found in dogs who have eaten something extremely spicy or high in capsaicin. As you can guess, anything that irritates the lining of your puppy’s mouth will make them drool excessively.

By the way, we also wrote articles about modern dog bowls and best dog food for dogs with few teeth to help older dogs.

What To Do If Your Dog Has Eaten Spicy Food?

If your dog eats something spicy, it will likely pass through their system. However, if you think your dog has consumed a large amount of spice then you should contact your vet immediately.

Monitor your dog’s behavior and keep them hydrated by offering water. Look out for any of the symptoms mentioned above to inform your vet.

Call ahead of time and let them know what happened so that they can be prepared when you arrive. This will save time and ensure your dog gets the care they need in any way possible.

If you can’t get through to your vet, call your local emergency center or pet poison control.

While at the vet’s office, expect them to check for dehydration by doing a physical examination of your pup. They may also need to take blood for testing.

In some cases, your vet will need to induce vomiting or treat your dog with activated charcoal. They might even prescribe anti-nausea medication along with antibiotics to prevent secondary infections. 

In most cases, however, dogs will only experience minor symptoms and might just have a few runs and feel lethargic for a while.

7 Tips To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Spicy Foods

Most dogs have a sensitive stomach so it’s important you keep them away from spicy foods. Keeping your pup away from these types of food is by far the safest option for both them and their health.

peppers in a green pot

Here are 7 tips to prevent your pooch from eating spicy foods altogether:

1. Cut Spices Out Completely

This means not only hot peppers but anything that contains spices such as curry, cumin, turmeric, and oregano.

2. Avoid Spicy Food

If you’re cooking dinner, use only bland ingredients like chicken breast, rice, green beans, and applesauce. Please note that there’s a specific time on how long to boil chicken for dogs.

Related Article: Can Dogs Eat Collard Greens? Is it safe to eat for your dog? Let’s find out!

3. Clean Up Well After Eating

If your dog likes to snatch things off the table or out of trash cans then it’s important they be supervised. This is particularly true after you’ve eaten spicy food and your pup’s sense of smell will be heightened.

4. Booby Trap The Kitchen

If your dog has a habit of getting into things, then it may be necessary to create a safeguard for them like putting items on higher shelves or in cabinets they cannot reach. 

5. Use Protective Fences

If your dog is a chewer, they may get into things like shoes and plants. Using wire mesh or baby gates can be helpful to protect the household items they’re most likely to ingest.

6. Keep Your Dog Busy With Toys And Treats

Dogs who chew and eat things they shouldn’t may be doing it because they’re bored or trying to divert their attention from something else.

Keep your dog busy by providing them with toys they like and making sure all of their needs are met such as food, water, and walks.

7. Watch Your Dog’s Behavior

Keeping spiced food away from your pup is best but if they eat it by accident, or you notice changes in your dog’s behavior, contact your vet right away.

People Also Ask

How Do Dogs React To Spicy Food?

Many dogs can’t handle spicy food and will get extremely sick. It can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lethargy, and vomiting if consumed in large amounts. If you think your dog has eaten spicy food, it’s best to take them to a vet right away.

Should Dogs Eat Spicy Food Like Chili?

No, dogs should not eat chili or spicy food. If you think your dog has eaten chili it is best to contact a vet immediately. Some of the symptoms include excessive thirst, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Can Dogs Taste Spicy Food, And Do They Like It?

Dogs have a heightened sense of smell and can taste things humans cannot. While it is not known for sure if dogs enjoy the sensation of spicy food, dogs do have taste receptors that allow them to detect spicy food, but not the same as humans as dogs have fewer taste buds.

Can Spicy Food Kill Dogs?

Spicy food is not known to kill dogs, but it can make them very sick if they eat a significant amount. If your dog eats spicy food, keep an eye on them for any changes in behavior or signs of illness such as diarrhea, excessive thirst, vomiting, and lethargy.

Is Spicy Food Poisonous For Your Dog?

Spicy food is not known to be poisonous for dogs, but it can cause them to vomit and have diarrhea. If your dog eats spicy food you should watch them as they may experience these symptoms as well as excessive thirst and lethargy.

Why Does My Dog Love Spicy Food?

The reason your dog enjoys eating spicy food is due to its heightened sense of smell. Dogs have around 220 million smell receptors as opposed to humans who only have 5 million. There is a chance that your dog enjoys spicy food because it tastes good, but the real reason is the smell.


Spicy food is generally not poisonous or toxic for your dog but it can cause them to get sick if eaten in large amounts. Keep an eye on your dog and be sure to contact a vet if they show any signs of illness after eating spicy food.

Some dogs may like the taste of spicy food while others may not. If your pup enjoys the taste of spicy food, try and wean them off of it and see if they enjoy other foods.

Try the tips I mentioned above to prevent your dog from eating spicy food and keep them busy and preoccupied with other activities.

No more spice for your dog is the safest choice!

Does your dog like spicy foods? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

If you are a pomeranian and pitbull fur parent, you might be interested in reading article about pomeranian dog foods and dog food for pitbulls.

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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